The Manipulation of Audiovisual Translation

In 2012, Meta: Translators’ Journal published a volume edited by Jorge Díaz-Cintas with the topic “The Manipulation of Audiovisual Translation”, to which I contributed an article titled “Quality Standards or Censorship? Language Control Policies in Cable TV Subtitles in Brazil”.

After being available only to subscribers for two years, the volume is now publicly available. There are many different articles on dubbing, subtitling, audio description and localization in various contexts and from different approaches.

Excerpt from Díaz-Cintas’ introduction:

In this compilation of articles, the scholars and practitioners of AVT set off to unmask the ideology that motivates and justifies some of the most telling deviations from the source texts. In so doing, they expose the power struggle at play between the different agents that participate in the translation process and the impact it has in the final shape of the translated text. Although faithful translation can also help propagate and perpetuate certain ideas and behaviours akin to certain regimes and structures, it is the deviational translation that becomes the primary focus of this volume.

The contributions that follow dispel the fantasy and ill-conceived assumption that practices like censorship, and to a lesser extent manipulation, belong to the past or that they are the sole hallmark of dictatorial, repressive regimes and draws conclusions regarding the dynamics of manipulation in the specific case of AVT, as well as in the reception and circulation of audiovisual materials in the receiving culture. Translation is not, and never has been, an innocent activity and the manipulation of (audiovisual) texts has taken place over time and continues to be rife, irrespective of the political regimes that happen to be in power. This special volume takes a look at these issues from a diachronic as well as a synchronic perspective, with some of the contributions firmly rooted in the past, whilst others concentrate on case studies that illustrate the extent to which manipulative intervention in AVT exchanges is present in today’s society. Acknowledging the vast array of genres that pertain to the audiovisual realm, the papers here contained do not only deal with films but they also resort to anime, TV series, news reports, documentaries, and video games as their sources for the different case studies. The audiences they address are also varied and cover children, youths, adults, and the sensory impaired.

Drawing on the work of some of the most prominent scholars in AVT, this collection of articles is a serious attempt at covering some of the central areas of concern and aims to provide a forum for reflection on questions closely related to power, identity, ideology and manipulation in the ever expanding field of AVT. The authors’ insightful analyses evidence how dubbing, subtitling, voiceover and audio description absorb, elaborate, and repress dissonant discourses. Allowing for different views and perspectives, it is in their very diversity and wealth of examples that these articles offer a panoramic view of the many facets in which translation and manipulation intertwine. I hope that this volume will awake the interest of other colleagues and will encourage further research in such an exciting field.

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Ponte de Letras – Ano 3

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